Kalisha ‘trying hard’

2013-09-02 00:00

GLAMOROUS Pietermaritzburg murder convict Kalisha Rajcoomar still suffers from flashbacks relating to the 2009 killing of her former lover, Sandesh Poorun, but is making the most of what prison life has to offer.

A smiling and relaxed Rajcoomar spoke to The Witness and was photographed at Westville prison during a function to celebrate Women’s Month, at which first lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma encouraged women to grab the opportunities they are offered in prison and to “shine like diamonds” when they are released.

“I am busy studying for my degree in education and I teach three matric classes, as well as levels three and four. I am taking part in everything here and am making the most of my time here. I’m just moving forward with my life,” said Rajcoomar.

She said, however, that she is continuing to undergo therapy to help her deal with anxiety attacks and flashbacks to which she is prone.

“I won’t lie. There are days when it’s very, very difficult,” she added sombrely.

But her face lit up with pride when she said: “My baby is doing well though. She’s getting really big now and she asks a lot of questions. I really miss her.”

The baby she is referring to is the daughter she had with Poorun, before she married Amith Sewkarran — the man who, with her help, strangled Poorun at a Pietermaritzburg bed and breakfast establishment on the night of February 7, 2009.

The couple admitted in the course of a sensational trial in 2011 that they had lured Poorun to the B ’n B in Scottsville on a pretext that he was going to spend the night with Rajcoomar and that she was intending to divorce Sewkarran.

While he lay in an alcohol-induced sleep, the couple strangled him. They put his body into their car and drove to Bishopstowe, stopping along the way to buy petrol and charcoal, which they used to set fire to the body at an isolated spot next to the road.

At the trial, Rajcoomar was depicted by the prosecution and Sewkarran’s advocate, Auret van Heerden, as “manipulative” and the driving force behind Poorun’s murder.

But her attorney, Anand Pillay, said she was a “battered woman”.

Cwele hopes to mend broken fences

SOUTH Coast drug trafficker Sheryl Cwele, who is serving her 12-year jail term for her role in recruiting Tessa Beetge and attempting to recruit Charmaine Moss as an international drug mule, told The Witness at the event (where she was photographed) that she has accepted her punishment.

She said she felt “ecstatic” when her sentence was reduced from 20 years back to 12 years by the Constitutional Court recently.

“I have embraced my life here,” she said.

Cwele is studying towards a degree in psychology. Her hope for the future is to mend broken fences with Beetge, whom she describes as her friend, and Beetge’s mother Marie Swanepoel.

She hopes to reach out to them in due course through the correctional services victim/offender dialogue programme.

“I am praying for it … I feel their pain,” she said.

Cwele said there is “a lot of time for introspection” in prison and she spends “a lot of time with God”.

Yesterday, Swanepoel told The Witness that she would have a hard time trusting Cwele again after what she did.

“I wouldn’t do anything until Tess is back home again,” she said. “I believe Christians don’t do to other Christians what Sheryl did, and friends don’t do that to friends,” she said.

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